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French PM: ‘The threat is still there’

January 12th, 2015
05:28 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Monday that the threat is still present after last week’s terror attacks in Paris left 17 people dead.

Valls said “the enquiry is only beginning and we need to go fast and I want to say, as the President of the Republic has said to France, the threat is still there and we have to be very careful that there is no reaction to what has happened.”

The warning came a day after more than one million people flooded Paris' Place de la République in a an unprecedented show of solidarity and defiance. Nearly four million people marched throughout the country, making it the largest mobilization in France’s history.

The world is still learning the details of last week’s shootings, in which gunmen claiming they were avenging the Prophet Mohammed attacked the staff of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Kosher supermarket.

“One of them maybe never went abroad, the one who attacked the Kosher food store, but it’s difficult at this stage to reply to that. I hope the enquiry will reveal these facts but no doubt [that] there was complicity, and networks and maybe finance also.”

Valls also said that he doesn’t “really believe in the idea of a lone wolf - that was the case in Oslo some years ago, but that’s different.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the state-run Anadolu Agency that Hayat Boumediene, the girlfriend of Amedy Coulibaly, the suspect killed in the Kosher market hostage siege on Friday, had been in Turkey before crossing into Syria on Thursday.

Amanpour asked the French Prime Minister if Boumediene is considered an accomplice by the authorities.

He said that “it would seem that this person left before the attack but the links with the family members of the two other terrorists have been demonstrated, and with the help of the Turkish authorities, which I’m sure will be forthcoming, we’ll be able to get our hands on her.”

The Kouachi brothers, who were behind the Charlie Hebdo attack, said they were sent by Al Qaeda in Yemen, while Amedy Coulibaly claimed in a video that his allegiance was to ISIS.

Valls acknowledged these claims and said “we need to try and find out under what circumstances this has happened and been financed.”

“We can see that this kind of terrorism, well these are individuals who have much to say in profile, they’ve been delinquents and then they’ve been radicalized, often in prison, and they have acted with finance and complicity of people who have instructed them.”

The French Prime Minister highlighted that prisons are “where this radicalization is organized, and we need to get information from the families, and they might see one of their young children in many cases. There are dozens of minors who have left for Syria, so we need to do this.”

Questions have been raised as to how the attackers, who were on the French authorities’ radar, slipped through the cracks and whether there were intelligence failures.

“These are legitimate questions, the justice system will have to explain and the parliament too wants to set up an information structure for this and the services of the Ministry of the Interior need to clarify this.”

Valls also said that terrorist organizations “hide people, people merging to society. And one of these individuals was not known to our for at least for being a threat, the third one was basically known for common crimes.”

“So we need to understand why and we’ve frustrated five attacks in the last two and a half years and a number of people were arrested, having come back from Syria or Iraq. They were kept in custody and they are in prison now.

"Why couldn’t we find these other people? Unfortunately you cannot reduce risks to zero but we do have to continue to track these networks.”


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